Welding is a method of permanently joining together two metal parts by melting these parts and then joining them together, allowing them to cool and harden. Many buildings and other structures are held up using steel and aluminum. Structural welders are specialized in performing the welding necessary to produce these structures.
Structural welding is the welding that is done to erect structures that are often used in construction. Structural welding uses aluminum, stainless steel and reinforced steel, according to WeldingEngineer.com. This type of welding is done using a variety of designs, such as the groove weld, fillet weld, weld length, complete joint penetration, partial joint penetration, lap joints, weld size, weld spacing, transitions and the static and cyclical loading.
The structural welder works with a steel or aluminum erection team and uses equipment such as cutting torches and carbon air arc torches to join together different parts of the steel or aluminum structure. The structural welder is also responsible for cleaning and maintaining tools used in structural welding. When not in the process of welding, structural welders perform other duties when assigned, according to Fab Shop.
Welders work with very hot materials and are also exposed to hazardous fumes. As a result, welders have higher work injuries than most professions, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, wearing proper safety equipment and taking safety precautions can prevent injuries. Structural welders work outdoors sometimes at great heights, which puts these welders at risk of falls. They usually work for 40 hours a day in eight- to 12-hour shifts.
To become a structural welder, the gas metal arc certification must be passed. According to Nebraska Workforce Development, structural welders are also required to know different kinds of welding depending on the needs of the job, such as submerged arc welding. Structural welders must also learn how to read structural blueprints.
The need for welders is not expected to change between 2008 and 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Automation primarily drives the decline in the need for welders. Fortunately, welders who are laid off in one welding industry can easily transfer to another welding industry. For instance, a structural welder can easily become an automotive welder. The median hourly wages for a welder in 2008 were $16.13, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The highest 10 percent earned more than $24.38, while the lowest 10 percent earned less than $10.85. 20 percent of welders are involved in welding unions.
- Photo Credit Hard working construction worker at a construction scene. image by Andy Dean from Fotolia.com
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